School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: October 2013 Newsletter
Contributing through our quality of being

By Ailsa Lucas
On the last part of the Apprenticeship there was an Open Space to explore, connect and initiate work with others on ways we wished to contribute to the wider world. My response was a desire to deepen my capacity to contribute to others through my quality of being with them, and to value this way of making a difference as highly as more obviously active forms of contribution like, say, creating events to raise consciousness around issues that matter to us.

And I’m aware as I write of a voice saying ‘no that isn’t enough’. So I wonder whether I’m writing here to defend ‘being’? I’m not sure. What I guess I will do is write something about why I feel it is an important form of contribution in itself.

One of the reasons that how we are, how we live, in the everyday feels so important to me is because I value congruence very highly. In every moment of our lives we have the chance to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’, as Gandhi is said to have suggested. When I speak about contributing through our quality of being I am very much speaking about doing that from a place of deepening our awareness of each of our inner world, our immediate world and a wider perspective which includes all life. And from that awareness to find ways to respond in each moment as best we can in line with our sense of what matters.

One thought that comes to me here is how easy it is to feel and say we want world peace, for example, yet how hard it can be to negotiate the conflicts of our everyday lives in ways that truly honour the feelings and needs of all involved. When I see destructive ways of responding to conflict in both the wider world or in me and my immediate relationships, my response, at least for now, is to put a lot of effort in to learning ways of negotiating conflict that are more constructive, and to do my best to practice that in my everyday life. I believe that learning to live and embody the changes we want to see in the world is the foundation for growing and inspiring it on a wider scale. How else can we begin to understand what would really be involved in that level of healing?

Then I find myself thinking about how the way we are in our everyday lives ripples out. I wonder whether that way of making a difference is more powerful than we recognise? If I embody congruence or inner awareness, say, certainly I will support some others I encounter to find those things in themselves too. If I raise the conflicts I experience between me and others in a way that enables us to negotiate them successfully, for some that will open the door to doing the same elsewhere, and so it ripples out. And I believe that having the opportunity to experience such things directly can often be much more powerful for people than having someone tell them how important they feel something is. And as I see it, the more of us there are with direct experience of things like resolving conflicts in a way that meets the needs of all involved, the more likely we are to see how that can be possible in wider scale issues, and to support initiatives that come from that place. How would the world be if we all stepped up our commitment to embodying that which we wanted to see in the world throughout the many moments that make up our lives?

Another reason I think I value offering through ‘being’ so highly is because I see myself living in a society in which ‘doing’ has often been valued to the exclusion of ‘being’. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say it is because I have personal feelings of pain and loss arising from my own embodiment of the message that ‘you will only be valued for what you do’. Of course I want to achieve things. I want to contribute. I want to make a difference. I believe that’s a natural part of being human. But my sense is that we’ve got lost to the point where an awful lot of doing happens for the sake of doing, without coming from a place of full awareness, connection or passion. I believe that when we really give ourselves space to rest in being, it allows our doing to emerge naturally in a more responsive, healthy and sustainable way. I often experience myself as under pressure to do more, yet there is a strong voice in me responding with ‘no, I need more space to grow my awareness, to connect with my inner wisdom, and to allow what emerges to emerge from there’.

I was fascinated by something Jo Hardy said on the Apprenticeship. So far as I understood it, she was suggesting that the superego, that part of us that has fixed ideas about how we should and shouldn’t be, is to some extent an internalisation of what Joanna Macy calls the ‘industrial growth society’. So that system that causes so much destruction and suffering is to be found here inside us. Isn’t then, my personal work in freeing my energy to flow in more aware, connected and responsive ways, and inspiring others to do the same through my quality of being with them, an important way, in itself, to work on changing that system?

I need to end here for today, and I’m aware that others on the Apprenticeship who were interested in this subject had other contributions and perspectives which I havn’t been able to include here. I would love if they or any of you with more to share on this subject wrote something for another newsletter …

With love,


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.